How To Write Fiction!

Want to Write?

When a person is new to writing fiction, they often wonder how to start. This Hubpage aims to offer some practical pointers to get those ideas flowing onto paper.

People become writers for a whole host of different reasons. Some feel they have a particular story to tell, others hope to supplement their income, or find their imaginations brimming over with vibrant images which they itch to share. Having retired from work, some people look around for new hobbies to try, and if they've always loved reading then writing their own tales can appeal. Others might want to simply write their own family's story for their younger relatives as a supplement to genealogical research.

There are roughly two kinds of writers - those who write as a career, who aim to be published and earn money; and those who write purely for fun. (There is also an amusing type of "writer" who talks at great length about being a writer but who doesn't actually write anything - but we'll ignore those funny folk!)

If you wish to write purely for fun, then you are totally free to write whatever you want, in whatever way you want. Your chances of being published are a hair's breadth off zero, but this is not your aim anyway. Have fun with it, enjoy yourself. If you then wish to share your writing with family and friends, I strongly suggest you view my Hubpage Self Publishing Pitfalls (see link below) as this could save you a lot of money and disappointment.

Join a Writers Group!

If you wish to write on a more serious level, then an excellent starting point is to join a local writers' group. A writers' group will be able to offer feedback and constructive criticism for your writing. They might book speakers or hold public events, or publish their own anthology.

Each writers' group is as individual as its own members - therefore some will feel more welcoming than others, or be more to your own personal taste and style than others. As with any social group, it can sometimes take a while to feel at home. If a group feels like an in-crowd with a captive audience, go elsewhere - unless, of course, you actually enjoy being part of a captive audience!

If you cannot find a suitable writers' group, start your own. My Hubpage How to Run a Writers' Circle (link below) offers practical advice for achieving this.

Another option is to sign-up for a creative writing class. Most of these are aimed at adults. Not only would you meet new people but you would have the guidance of a qualified teacher and receive feedback from fellow pupils. Don't be nervous of asking the teacher about how much of their own work has been published.

Correspondence courses might be more to your taste. Primarily a correspondence course is a business operating for the benefit of the business owners. Do check the small print in subscription contracts to be absolutely sure how much money is involved for what you will actually get in return.

Start Writing!

So you want to write but don't know where to begin?

If you set aside a specific part of the day for your writing, and make this a regular unbroken routine, you will quickly find that the task of writing comes more easily. Even if you can manage only half an hour a day between work and school runs, this routine will pay off. You might have the most amazing ideas dancing around in your head, but if you don't sit down and get writing, then that's exactly where they'll stay - and then you risk becoming one of those funny folk mentioned earlier, who talk about writing but don't do any.

Layout

There is no need to purchase expensive writing equipment or programs. Use your usual word processing program and set the typeface to Courier New, and the typeface size to 12 point. Use double-line spacing always, and have one-inch margins. Indent the first line of each paragraph by five letters (or one quarter of an inch.) Use one side of the page only, and number each page.

This simple layout makes it much easier for you to read through your work again and make any changes in pen, should you wish to do so. This layout is also perfectly adequate for most submissions but some editors, agents or publishers ask for something different so do check their individual submissions guidelines when the time comes to send work off.

Ideas to Start You Writing!

Many writers can feel daunted by the Big Blank Page! A practical way to overcome this is to use writing exercises.

For five minutes, write absolutely anything, no matter what comes into your head - gibberish, shopping lists, 'must do' lists, rapid descriptions, how you're feeling. No matter what comes into mind, write it down. Some writers find this exercise acts like limbering up before a run.

Next, pick a colour. Then pick an activity. Then pick a location. Don't give it much thought, just choose any random selection, such as 'yellow', 'rollerskating', 'park'. Ok, so we have someone in a yellow dress rollerskating in a park. Think about that for a minute, but for no longer. Ask yourself who is wearing the dress - a child, an old lady, a clown in drag? Why are they skating - for fun, exercise, charity, street entertainment? What's going on around them, what can they see, and who is watching them? Who is telling the story, the person who's rollerskating or someone who is watching? Then take ten minutes to write a mini story about this. It doesn't matter if it's not a great story. The aim is to get writing.

If you are short of ideas, try using my Fiction Story Generator (see link below). Also, most writers take to carrying a notebook with them at all times so they can quickly jot down ideas as they arise. For me, finding ideas for stories has never been a problem. It's finding the time to write them all into stories!

© 2010 Adele Cosgrove-Bray

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Comments 4 comments

MordechaiZoltan profile image

MordechaiZoltan 6 years ago

Thank you Adele! Very good information. Thanks also for answering my question on the forum. I have some work I was going to post here but will hold off and try to submit to traditional channels. Do you know any reputable writing contests? Thanks in advance!


AdeleCosgroveBray profile image

AdeleCosgroveBray 6 years ago from Wirral, Cheshire, England. Author

You're welcome, Mordechai.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of writing contests. Take a look at the listings in the Artists' & Writers' Yearbook, or in the back of writing magazines.


CarNoobz profile image

CarNoobz 3 years ago from USA

I've got several blogger friends who did that NaNoWriMo (I think that's what it's called), where you write like 2,000 - 3,000 words of a novel each day or something like that.

I don't know. I just haven't been into fiction much (writing it, I mean). I guess it's just not my thing.

Good topic though. Voted up


AdeleCosgroveBray profile image

AdeleCosgroveBray 3 years ago from Wirral, Cheshire, England. Author

I've never tried my hand at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) either. I'm too busy writing already! :)

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